Aug 28, 2014

Watermelon Mint Lemonade


Summer is slowly winding down and you can just see the changes. The supermarkets have started putting up Fall clothes and accessories, lot of Fall sale going on and Pumpkin recipes are already doing the rounds. But I still have so many more summer recipes to share. eeks...am I too late?

I always take a bunch of pics of almost everything that I cook, specially if making it the first time in the hope that if they come out tasting good then to save the recipe I’ll share it on the blog. But most often than not, they just stay in a folder designated just for my food pics on my laptop, either due to lack of time or because I forgot the recipe or the changing seasons doesn't fit for my particular recipe ;-) Imagine an icecream recipe in deep winters!! But don't be amazed if I do that....

Btw do you want to know the name of that folder where I keep all my food pics…..here goes…...drum rolls.....'Culinary Skills' :-P And its literally a pictorial collection of all my kitchen experiments ever since I started cooking and that would precisely be from December of 2011, the month and year that I got married…Lol! 
I’ve changed from a desktop to laptop and that too two laptops and still I copy this folder and every single pic in it from desktop to laptop to laptop…hehe! More than my family pics I treasure these as it shows exactly how I have grown as a home-cook and shows exactly what all dishes I have tried to make till now. Not all the pics are blog worthy but some of the recipes definitely are, so if I make any of them again, I’ll surely share it here.

Coming back to my summer recipes, here’s another cool and chilled drink that we enjoyed for a small get-together with our friends. We had a bbq potluck party in the middle of a working week…yeah! Thankfully I had planned ahead and did some prep work so that I wouldn't have to run around after coming home from work. I made Margherita Pizza (all from scratch), tandoori chicken and Watermelon Lemonade. My friends brought some veggie burgers and zucchini and we grilled and ate and drank and had fun inspite of having to go to office the next day! All the recipes will be shared soon, which is why I said I have so many more summer recipes to share….


Lemonade being our favorite drink of choice, I decided to make a watermelon lemonade as I had a whole watermelon that I wanted to finish. I flavored the lemonade with mint flavored sugar syrup so it had a very mild yet wonderful mint flavor as well.

My measurements for the lemonade are approximate. I had a medium sized watermelon and used the juice from 3 ripe Meyer lemons. I do not usually add a lot of sugar to my fruit based lemonades as the fruit itself will add sweetness, but again, adjust as per preference. And watermelon being juicy enough I did not add any extra water, so this lemonade’s all pure watermelon juice and lemon juice with the fresh flavor of mint! ;-) This is also a perfect make ahead recipe and drink.


I used up all the mint so had nothing left for garnish :-P


Watermelon Mint Lemonade

You’ll need
1 medium sized Watermelon
3 Meyer lemons
1 cup Mint flavored Sugar-syrup (recipe below)

Mint flavored sugar syrup
1 cup water
1 cups sugar
½ cup or handful bunch of fresh mint leaves
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)


Directions
Make sugar syrup
Boil together water, sugar and mint leaves until the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and add 1 tsp vanilla extract if preferred and let the sugar syrup cool down completely. Strain out the mint leaves before using the sugar syrup.

For watermelon lemonade
1. Cut the watermelon into cubes and blend/grind them in a blender. Use a strainer to strain out the juice and discard the pulp. (I strained the watermelon juice twice for a smooth juice)
2. Squeeze out the juice from the lemons and add it to the watermelon juice.
3. Add mint-flavored sugar syrup - as much as preferred. 
(If you prefer more lemon flavor add juice from more lemons)
4. Keep the watermelon lemonade refrigerated until used and serve in a glass filled with ice-cubes for a refreshing, chilled drink!

Note:
1.The taste of any drink is as per taste preference , so feel free to add or reduce the amount of lemon juice or sugar.
2. You can just add plain sugar instead of making the sugar syrup if you prefer. But make sure to stir the drink until the sugar crystals dissolve.


I'll make sure to post all the other 'summer' recipes shortly, but seriously it doesn't have to be summer to make those anyways! 

So just for fun, do you have any kitchen pics or souvenirs that you treasure and shows your kitchen journey till now? Lets chat about it. My comment section is all yours :)

-Manju



Aug 10, 2014

Mango Lemonade


A good refreshing and chilled summer drink is what I love best about summers. I love trying out the new summer drinks that the local coffee shops and juice shops comes up with during summer and I try them all. Manish loves chilled drinks, specially with lots of crushed ice in them. I prefer with less ice, but whichever way it's served, my lil'Appu can gulp them all down ;-) We are a bunch of juice lovers in the house.

Lemonade tops the chart of all our favorite summer drinks. Who doesn't love Lemonade?
I love sweet lemonade, Manish doesn't mind the salty version either. Lemonade brings back so many memories of my college days when on hot and humid days after class, my friends and I would go down to the college canteen and drinks glass after glass of sweetened cold lemonade. It was bliss and we could literally feel the cool drink pass down our throat! 
The first time when Manish and I met also we had a lemonade, so you see it brings back romantic memories as well...have I shared too much? Lol!! ;-) 


Another summer item I'm crazy about are mangoes. I've lots count of how many mangoes we've eaten this summer and I love to see my lil'Appu literally relish it. I have been wanting to try a Mango Lemonade from long and finally decided to make it for lil'Appu's 3 rd birthday party. I made a small batch just enough for myself and Manish and we loved it.

It's so vividly beautiful with that bright sunshine yellow color that the mango pulp imparts to the lemonade and it's sweet yet still very mildly lemony and tart. This lemonade will literally make your tastebuds flow and is so refreshing. It's a perfect summer drink and a pretty one too ;-) 

I don't really measure when I  make lemonade, I just keep adding lemon juice, water and sugar syrup until the taste is just right for me. But I've tried to approximate it to the best I can for this recipe. Feel free to adjust it as per taste.
I like to make a simple sugar syrup while making any fruit drinks. It makes sure there are no undissolved sugar crystals in your drink and any leftovers can be refrigerated and used later on for another drink. 
I often flavor the sugar syrup with either vanilla, mint or orange/lemon rinds for a mild yet pleasant flavor which is imparted to the main drink.


Mango Lemonade

You'll need
2 cups  fresh Lemon juice 
2 cups Mango pulp
6 cups Water
2 cups simple Sugar syrup
Plenty of Ice
Raspberries and Mint leaves for garnish

For sugar syrup
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions
Make simple sugar syrup
In a saucepan, add sugar and water and heat it until sugar completely dissolves. Add vanilla extract and turn off the heat. Allow the sugar syrup to cool.

Mango Lemonade
In a large pitcher, pour the fresh squeezed lemon juice, mango pulp and water.
Add 1 cup sugar syrup and mix well. Stir well and refrigerate for few hours. 
(Taste and add more sugar syrup if needed else more lemon juice/water)
Before serving add ice, garnish with raspberries and mint leaves and serve chilled!

Notes
1.  I've used store-bought sweetened Mango pulp (Swad brand), so I didn't have to use too much sugar syrup as the drink was sweet enough to my taste.
2.  If using fresh mangoes, then peel the mango, scoop out the flesh, grind it into a pulp along with the lemon juice. Strain and add the remaining ingredients. In this case you may need more sugar syrup to balance the sweetness depending upon how sweet the mango is.
3. Try adding sparkling water or club soda for a fizzy drink ;-)
4. You can also add mango cubes in the lemonade along with raspberries. 

I have also made mango lemonade with mint flavored sugar syrup and that tastes awesome too. Add handful of fresh mint leaves while making the sugar syrup and remove the leaves . Use this syrup while making the lemonade.  The aroma and subtle flavor of mint definitely adds a boost of flavor to the lemonade.



For Appu's 3rd b'day party I made a punch  topping the lemonade with some raspberries and ice in a punch bowl. And to go along with the Dino theme, I named it Active Volcano Punch! It was a crowd pleaser and got over so fast, I had to make it again twice during the course of the party. It looked pretty and tasted refreshing and both kids and adults enjoyed it!

I'm sure you'll love this Mango Lemonade as mush as how we do. Try it out and let me also know how you liked it :-)

-Manju

Aug 3, 2014

Chicken Salad Pinwheels


We love Chicken Salad sandwiches at home, including my little 3 yr old. My younger sister, Maya is an ardent fan of chicken salad sandwiches and I must say she's the gal who introduced my family to this creamy and yumm sandwich when we were kids :-) 
I had absolutely no interest at all in cooking when I was a teenager….hehe.  Maya used to be the food experimenter at home, I preferred to be the taste-tester and mummy used to reluctantly agree to her wishes of trying something new now and then. She happened to eat a chicken salad sandwich from a friend’s house one day, got the recipe from the friend’s mom and instantly wanted to try it at home as it seemed very easy. She must have been in 6th grade then.

We did not even know this sandwich was called chicken salad sandwich back then. Maya’s sandwich recipe was simple, it had chicken pieces that was boiled in water with ginger-garlic paste, salt n pepper and pulled apart, grated carrots, mayonnaise, salt and pepper, but it was the tastiest sandwich we had ever eaten. 
Creamy, chunky and really good.  Every time daddy brought home chicken to make chicken curry we would reserve a few pieces to make our favorite chicken sandwich and I happily helped her while she made it ;-)



I learnt how to make chicken salad sandwich the way it's made here in the US after watching it on some show on Food Network. Along with cubed chicken and mayonnaise, celery, cranberries, walnuts or even grapes, herbs like dill or cilantro or parsley, sometimes even a dash of hot sauce is added in the mix and it's usually served cold.  I've tried it several times at home and must say Manish & I very much enjoy it every time and of-late our lilAppu too.


These sandwich pinwheels were just a fun idea of mine one day after I came back home from work. It was a long day and I needed to rejuvenate myself. My favorite way to de-stress is try out something new in the kitchen...lol! I decided to make chicken salad sandwiches as that would keep me busy for a while, but then while taking out the bread I thought why not roll out the bread with a rolling pin, add the chicken salad and cut them into 1” sized pieces.


Turned out to be a fun dinner and lil’Appu and Manish totally enjoyed it and had no clue how many sandwiches they actually ate that night in the form of pinwheels  ;-) I did not trim out the crust of the bread, but you can for a better presentation and I've used whole wheat bread.

This is a fun idea for a tea-party or as an appetizer for any gathering.  Serve it cold or at room temperature. I love adding walnuts and dried cranberries for extra crunch and flavor but was out of those the day I made these, but I’ve included that in the recipe below which is how I usually always make.



You can even use tortilla or chapatis for filling the chicken salad in and roll them up and cut into pinwheels. Stick a toothpick at the end to hold it together and serve as appetizers. Bread easily sticks together at the end.



Chicken Salad Sandwich
Makes 2-3 regular sandwiches or 3 pinwheels per slice of bread ;-)

You’ll Need
2 cups boiled and diced or shredded Chicken
2 celery stalks (chopped)
½ of a Red Onion or White Onion (minced into small pieces)
¼ cup walnuts
¼ cup dried cranberries
1 Tblsp of finely chopped Cilantro or Dill leaves
1 cup Mayonnaise
½ cup thick Yogurt or Sour cream
2 Tblsp Lemon juice
Salt – to taste
Fresh ground black pepper – to taste
Red chilli powder or Paprika or Cayenne Pepper or Hot sauce – a pinch or a dash for flavor
Sandwich Bread – toasted or not as needed

Directions
1. Boil the chicken pieces (leg, thigh or breast pieces) in  water enough to immerse the pieces. Add salt and pepper and cook until the chicken is bone tender and pulls apart easily. (Occasionally I also add fresh grated ginger-garlic while boiling for more flavor)
2. In a large bowl, mix together all the other ingredients : celery, onion, walnuts, dried cranberries, cilantro/dill, mayonnaise, yogurt/sour cream, chilli powder/hot sauce and lemon juice.
3. Toss in the chicken pieces once cooled and mix everything together, add more salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste and refrigerate until the flavor sets, about 2 hrs.

For the pinwheels
1. Take a slice of bread, roll it out with a rolling pin to become thinner.
2. Spread the chicken salad on top, roll the bread slice, trim off the ends (or not) and cut into 1” thick pieces. Enjoy!

For a basic chicken salad sandwich
Serve on artisan bread or regular sandwich bread  with some lettuce and sliced tomatoes with the chicken salad spread on top, make a sandwich and enjoy with some chips and a pickle.

Notes:
1. The Chicken can be boiled in chicken broth if preferred.
2. I like to use bone-in chicken as it has more flavor and pulls apart easily. If using only chicken breasts cut into small cubes.
3. Some recipes include adding Dijon mustard paste either in the chicken salad or on the bread slice , but that's your choice.
4. You can even use Rotisserie chicken.


It's a super easy recipe and trust me kids will love it as it is creamy and not spicy. I had included chicken salad sandwiches as appetizer for Appu's Dino b'day party in the shape of dinosaurs ;-) The kids loved it and it was all gone... For more flavor I spread a little ketchup on one slice, chicken salad on the other and sandwiched them up and cut into dino shapes :)


-Manju

Jul 29, 2014

Dinosaur Cake - a simple tutorial


I love experimenting with Appu’s b’day cakes. Because no matter how it turns up I know he’ll love it! I’m a self-taught cake decorator so I love to experiment, specially on the cakes I make for my family. It brings me both joy and also helps me explore various cake decorating skills.
Lil’Appu had a Dinosaur themed party for his 3rd b’day and the first thing he did was ask for a dinosaur birthday cake. Anybody who asked him about his b’day got the reply that ‘I’ll be getting a dinosaur b’day cake’ :-) He was so excited about it and I wanted it to look good.  

I decided to make my first ever carved 3D cake in the shape of a Stegosaurus dinosaur. 
I’m generally a little hesitant to do carved cakes for two reasons (1) what if the carving goes all wrong? (2) wastage of cake – although you could make cake pops with leftovers.  But I made up my mind this time and went ahead with my plans.

Here’s a simple tutorial with whatever pics I could manage to click while building my dino cake.


Step 1: Get the Stegosaurus spikes ready

Start with making the spikes for the Stegosaurus atleast a week in advance. I mixed some tylose powder in my marshmallow fondant but you can also use gumpaste for this as the spikes need to be hardened and stand straight on the cake. 

I used tear drop shaped cutters in three different sizes and then cut out the end from both sides to get a pointed tip at the bottom -> this will help to insert it into the cake. 
The cut out pieces can be either re-shaped or used just as is for the smaller spikes.
Make marks all over the spikes in straight lines to give it a rugged appearance and some texture.  Make several extras incase they break.
Plcae them on a baking sheet with wax paper to dry for atleast 4 days at room temperature.


I do not own an air-brush for spray coloring the cake, so this time I decided to give a try at using the Color Mist Spray colors by wilton and it worked like a charm :-) I spray misted the spikes on both sides with yellow and allowed them to dry. Then I painted the orange color in the middle using Orange luster dust mixed in vodka. Do this atleast 3 days before.

 

Step 2 : Bake, shape , fill and frost the cake

Ideally the body should be more oval-dome shaped than round-domed but I did not have an oval shaped pan so I used my regular round cake pans. 
For the body of the dino, I baked two 8” round cakes and one domed round cake in my small glass pyrex bowl.  Made Vanilla Buttercream and stacked them all together like this.

The flavor was a rich Chocolate-Espresso cake with lots of chocolate chips. 


To get an overall dome shape I gently carved out some cake from the top 8” cake (below the round domed cake) in a downward slant until it blended with the rest of the cake and it finally looked like this.


Frost the entire cake with vanilla buttercream. I just did a rough frosting as I was going to be covering the cake in fondant anyways, but make sure all gaps are filled in and the edges are quite smooth.


Step 3: Model the head, legs and tail (Can use Fondant, Cake or Rice Krispie treats)

I was planning to make cake-pop mix using the cake scraps after the carving to use for making the head,  legs and tail of the dino.  But I didn’t have to carve out a lot and had no extra cake on hand, so I used some leftover fondant that I had from doing a previous cake. So the Head, Tail and Legs of the dino were made with Fondant.   
(You could also use Rice-Krispie treats if you want)

The Stegosaurus head is small when compared to body and is sort of tapered with a beak like mouth.
The two front legs are smaller than the two back legs.
The tail is thick (specially where it joins the body) and its long and tapered at the end.


Step 4: Covering with Fondant 

Finally drape the whole cake including the head, legs and tail in fondant (I kneaded my fondant light green while making it) and trim away excess fondant.

Using a ball tool make holes for the eyes, small nostrils and make a shape for the mouth.
Again make vertical markings all over the body of the cake, the tail, head everywhere, to give it some texture and a scaly bodily appearance. Take care to not tear the fondant though.


I then Spray Misted the cake with Green :-) Let the cake dry out at room temp for 1-2 hrs.


Step 5: Place the spikes and give finishing touches

Now add the spikes on the cake body.  Starting with smaller spikes on the head, then bigger spikes in the center and smaller spikes again towards the tail, ending with pointed spikes at the end of the tail. I had to make small cuts with a knife to help insert the spikes into the body without breaking the spikes.
I made two small white balls for the eye-balls and used an edible marker to add the black pupil for the eyes.

Finally the finishing touches:
-- The cake board was coated with Chocolate buttercream for a muddy appearance.
-- Green grass  (vanilla buttercream colored with green) was piped all around the dino-cake to make it look as if the dino is resting in the grass. Used Wilton grass tip 233 for this.
-- Crushed graham cracker biscuits resembled sand and I added that all around the dino near the grass.


Just before the party I used some royal-icing to write ‘Happy Birthday Manav’ on the cake board. And this is how it looked.


The whole inspiration behind this dino cake was a tutorial I saw of a Stegosaurus cake by Montreal Confections and I just couldn't get it off my head :) so even though I was planning a T-Rex cake I finally decided to do a Stegosaurus with the pretty spikes on its body. 


Hope you liked the tutorial and I must confess this has been the easiest cake I have done so far. Even the detailing was pretty simple. If you ever make a dino cake please do share it with me. Would love to see your creations.

-Manju

Jul 23, 2014

Dinosaur B'day party...Manav turns 3 - ROAR!



Our Lil’Appu turned a roaring three year old on July 11th. He has grown into a tall yet skinny boy who is jumping around all the time, making mommy and dada also jump around with him…hehe! He is the helper of his class at daycare and knows all his friend’s names and even our friend’s names. He is a smiler and can flash his million dollar smile on you anytime. 
He absolutely loves books, play dough and Spiderman….recently prehistoric Dinosaurs have also joined his club of ‘things-appu-likes’ and he can name several difficult-to-pronounce dinosaur names :-) 
He can eat noodles, dosa or fruits anytime you give him and can drink milk all day if allowed. He is always ready to try new things and strongly cares about everyone.
Yes, our lil’Appu has a lot of things up his sleeves and I guess I’ll have to dedicate an entire post to him if I have to start writing about him.  He is the apple of our eyes and will always be!

Now coming to his third b’day party, his craze for Spiderman had me almost nail down a Spiderman themed b’day for him. His childhood friend from 6months of age Avyay also is a die hard Spiderman boy, so when his mom decided to keep that as the party theme we were all thrilled. She did a lot of simple yet fun spiderman themed stuff for the party and I happily made the cake and it was a party to remember. I’m yet to share the details on that, but will do that soon.



Lil’Appu latest craze (apart from Spiderman) has been dinosaurs. Even at his daycare they have been doing all sort of arts n crafts with Dinosaur theme and he even recognizes a bunch of the pre-historic reptiles, so I didn’t have to think twice as to what would be a good theme for his party…A rooooaring Dinosaur party!

Appu’s celebrated his 3rd b’day on Friday, July 11th and being a working day, it was business as usual. I got him a customized T-Shirt from Etsy saying Manav-saurus  with the number 3 and dino’s on it and he wore that proudly to day-care along with taking goodie bags for his friends.




The Dino bday party was kept for the next day. I decided to keep the color combo kinda rustic and went for a Green, Yellow and Orange theme for the cake table. I wanted a cute, fun, not too scary but not too cartoonish dino themed party decor. So all the décor was customized and individually made/ordered and put together.  


I did not want too many sweet stuff on the cake table which is the usual fad for cake tables, but decided to strike a balance with cake, cupcakes, snacks, fruit and water along with dino toys and balloons floating over trees for the cake table. 



Ever since I told Appu that we would do a Dinosaur b’day party for him he has been literally chanting to everyone including his teachers that he’s gonna get a dinosaur birthday cake :) 
I initially thought of doing a 3D T-Rex cake, but later decided to do a 3D Stegosaurus as I felt the colorful spikes on the body would look more fun on the cake. 
I baked a rich Chocolate-Espresso cake with Chocolate chips, filled and frosted it with Vanilla Buttercream and covered in marshmallow Fondant.  I’ll give a detailed tutorial on how to make this cake in a later post.



Apart from cake I wanted to keep cupcakes also this time as I’ve never done that before and kids loves cupcakes right? ;-) So I made Chocolate-espresso chocolate chip mini cupcakes with orange colored Vanilla Buttercream. 
I'm not much of a fan of toothpick inserted cupcake toppers for kids, for safety sake. So I spent a few days making edible toppers using royal icing in the shape of four different Dinos (T-rex, Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus and Triceratops). 
It was a huge hit and the kids were too busy eating all the toppers and stealing cupcakes from the table even before cake cutting ;-)


I had a T-Rex Melon to add a wow factor to the table! Ever since I saw this carved Dinosaur melon, I knew I had to make it. The instructions were simple and I just wanted the Dino-Melon to be more of an attraction. I had a whole platter of thin watermelon wedges that we named ‘Dino-Spikes’ for eating on a separate table.



The eyes are actually black peppercorns pressed into a scooped watermelon ball. The eye-brows and nostrils are made with the rind of the melon…my sis-in-law felt that the nostrils looked more like Charlie-Chaplin’s mustache…I agree ;-) It was still cute and fun to look at! Manish did the whole carving and I just did the eye balls, eyebrows, nostrils and the toothpicks for teeth.

For snacks I had three items on mind, Dino Eggs (round cheese balls),  Dino Toe-nails (Bugels) and Dino Bones (rolled tortilla chips), but in the hurry I forgot to get the cheese balls, so we just kept the Bugels and Tortilla chips on a green colored tray that I got for just $1 at target :-D I placed these fun name tags that I printed from online and placed them against each snack. There was also a Dino-Melon tag for the melon :-)



On a similar green colored tray I placed water bottles with custom dino happy birthday labels , which my sis-in-law cut and stuck on each bottle. I had bought green striped straws, so that went into each bottle. This was also loved by all.

The main wall deco included this Dino skeleton with Manav's name which was drawn and cut to perfection by one of my talented friends. He was so precise that he made sure that even the alphabets are written in the same font used to write Jurassic Park.



For the decor I wanted simple yet plenty of decorations. I got some free dino printables here and used them to make the banner around the cake table, water bottle labels and name tags for the dino-food.  
Then there were dino balloons, dino hangings, the pretty green lanterns, happy birthday banners, Dinosaur toy figurines and fun dino party hats. Manish got a paleontologists hat for appu to wear during cake cutting but he dint wear it ;-)





Now for the food, I wanted the appetizer to be fun and dino-themed for all kids and adults. As I was going to have equal number of vegetarian and non-veg eating guests I included both varieties. Some were not dino shaped but we placed food lables that’s was named so. 
Non-veg appetizers: Dino chicken salad sandwhiches 
                                                Dino Chicken Nuggets
                                                Carnivore wraps (Chicken Lettuce wraps)
Veg appetizers: Dino creamy veg sandwhiches
                                      Dino Bones (Mozzarella sticks)
                                      Herbivore wraps (Soya chunks lettuce wraps)
                                      Dino Bones again (Veg Spring Roles – we were out of names :-P)
Active Volcano punch – Mango lemonade with raspberries and lots of ice.
Water bottles with fun dino labels
Dino Spikes – watermelon wedges cut into thin triangular slices.


Dino shaped food....so fun!

Dino water bottles and Dino spikes (watermelon wedges)

For the main course meal I decided on an Indo-Chinese flair. My main focus was on the party deco and appetizers and I had enough to do on-hand so wasn't planning on cooking myself, but my friends chipped in offering help in all possible ways It almost turned out like a potluck....so all the dishes were homemade and all made by my friends, including the Mango icecream :-)
Main:  Veg Hakka Noodles 
                Chinese style Veg fried rice
Non veg side:  Chilli Chicken
                                  Pepper Chicken
Veg side:  Chilli Paneer
                        Veg Manchurian
Dessert:  Mango Icecream served in mini cones
                     Gulab jamuns



For the goodie bags I wanted everything to be dino themed again. All the goodie bags had either Dino story books or Dino sticker books including Dino mugs, Dino stamps , mini dino toys, Dino plush toys etc given to the kids based on their age. I got a simple brown paper bag with a yellow border on sale from target and stuck a Dino thank you note on each bag :-)


I had couple of Dino related activities in mind, but wasn’t sure if I could handle it as there were a lot of kids. So finally we got a Dino Inflatable/Moonbouncer and trust me from little crawling kids to the adults all had fun jumping in the moon bouncer and lil’Appu was literally inside it the entire time. The inflatable was huge and had a big dinosaur looking out from one end so it really looked like our backyard had a huge dino standing there ;-)
We rented extra tables and chairs so that people could sit out in our backyard and enjoy the food and party and it was a beautiful and colorful party I should say.


 

I love party planning, specially for my lil'boy. It took me almost a whole month of research hunting for inspiration and ideas all over the internet to come up with these details for the party. Manish, my sis-in-law, bro-in-law and my friends were a huge help in helping me organize everything.

Few other ideas I wanted to incorporate but left out due to lack of time were:
Dino Fossil cookies - round Shortbread cookies with embedded dino footprints 
Dino shaped Pasta (for the kids)
Dino shaped chocolates (for favor bag gifts)
Dino Fossil hunt (bucket of sand filled with dino skeletons and kids are supposed to find them)
Pin the tail on the dinosaur

I got all my party accessories and decorations from Amazon like the Dino party plates-cutlery-napkins set, dino sandwich cutter, the mini cupcake wrappers-green lantern-drinking straws set, all the favor bags items, balloons and Lil’Appu’s b’day shirt.
If you want details on anything in particular please email me or leave me a comment.



Friends are family when you are far away from home and my friends prove it over and over again. I’m proud of you all for being there for us. 

I want to specially thank from the bottom of my heart :
Navaneet for the beautiful Dino skeleton cutout banner for the wall deco.
Swati for the Veg Hakka noodles and Mango Icecream
Swati B for Veg Fried rice
Rupali & Pankaj for the veggie dino sandwhiches and veg hakka noddles
Lata for the Chilli Paneer, Nirmal for cutting the watermelon into spikes
Rinku for the Pepper Chicken
Arun & Rashmi for the Chilli Chicken and for baking the nuggets, cheese sticks and spring rolls
Sowjanya for Gulab Jamuns
Deepika for helping with all the arrangements while Anand (her hus) looked after her 7 month old :) and also for coming in early with all the stuff needed to do my hair but that didn’t happen..Lol!
Malli (sis-in-law) for all the decoration cut outs, for helping me with the Lettuce wraps and Chicken Sandhwiches and plenty more.
Manish, Malli (sin-in-law) and Unni (bro-in-law) for staying up late and helping with all the tiny details that I was so particular about. For cooking, cleaning and looking after Appu in midst of all the chaos. For being patient and not actually telling to my face that I’m a crazy woman :-P

The cake cutting was great. We played the  Happy b'day song and everybody sang along and as usual Appu had fun cutting the cake and enjoyed eating his dinosaur birthday cake!



So that’s it folks, our roaaring little boy had a roaaaring b’day party. It took us a few days to get back to our usual self coz we were exhausted beyond words after the party :) but the pictures make me feel proud and happy of what we were able to do and Lil'Appu and his friends had a great time!

If you'd like to see the earlier b'day party themes I did for Appu, here it is:
Rainbow themed 1st B'day party                    








-Manju